I've been asked to collaborate in an edited book that will collect important contributions to the field X, in the humanities/Social Sciences. The volume will be published in French, so I was asked to translate the work (an article) of an authority in the field from English to French. Given that this takes time, I wonder whether there is any value in doing this? Will this look good on a CV? Or is it just a "service"?

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    Is the question of whether working on a translation would look good on your CV or just be a "service" not a false dichotomy? Could something not be a service and look good on your CV? Surely the pertinent question is just "Would this look good on a CV?"
    – Ian_Fin
    Commented Oct 11, 2016 at 11:02

1 Answer 1


Been there, done that. Didn't even get a print out of the translated chapter, nor a hard copy of the edited volume.

Make sure the article is at least of some interest to you personally, otherwise the whole process quickly becomes taxing.

The assumption is also that you will translate into a language that is your mother language, or that will be even harder, and actually you would be badly advised to even consider completing the task.

Translating does not improve an academic CV because translating an article is either a skill people assume you have to be able to carry your usual research, or translations are given to language professionals who can value the experience on their CV.

Unless you're able to bargain some sort of deal that is of interest to you with the people who ask for the translation, or the author of the article to translate, it will only be a "service", for glory.

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    This seems to completely miss the actual question, which is about the value on a CV, not about any sort of physical payoff. Commented Oct 10, 2016 at 20:14
  • "Seems" indeed. The "physical payoff" was only mentioned in the first paragraph, talking from experience. The last paragraph exactly answer the last element of question of the the "actual question".
    – G-E
    Commented Oct 11, 2016 at 10:03
  • How does the last paragraph address anything about CVs? The value of this to your CV is completely unrelated to what sort of deal you can get with whoever asks you for the translation. The only mention of CVs in the answer was added later, and it is quite disingenuous to pretend otherwise. Commented Oct 11, 2016 at 10:15
  • Question is: 'Will this look good on a CV? Or is it just a "service"?' Answer is: 'it will only be a "service", for glory.' By the way, not pretending anything: does the latter addition answer the question better, then? Taking your point of view on board: not everything can be negative, can it? And what's your answer to the question?
    – G-E
    Commented Oct 11, 2016 at 10:49
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    I think it's fair to assume that this is from the perspective of an academic CV, and hence whether performing a translation would enhance it. In which case, G-E's answer does address the questions (ie no, it won't enhance it) - though perhaps he could learn some netiquette...
    – Deleuze
    Commented Oct 11, 2016 at 11:43

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